The Eternal Word
Jesus Christ was the Word before the
creation of the world, before time, and for all to come:
He is the Word forever.
Introduction – The Design of the Gospel of John
1. The Prologue as a "Redemptive Arc"
John designed his gospel in such a way that it is absolutely beautiful. It is
absolutely remarkable the way the gospel is designed. First of all in the Prologue, the first
eighteen verses, John starts with Christ in eternity past, brings Him down to earth in the
incarnation and in verse eighteen winds up with Jesus back in the bosom of the Father. It
is kind of a dynamic redemptive arc that brings Christ from there to here and then back to
God. It's a beautiful, marvelous thing.
In that process, like a pendulum that swings, Jesus came and revealed all we need
to know about God almighty and revealed what we need to know about redemption and
salvation. He then gave the power for us to get involved – to gather us up with Him and
take us right on back with Him into the very bosom of the Father, so to speak, in our
2. The Gospel of John as a "Redemptive Arc"
And that indeed – that simple arc – is also a description of the design of the whole
gospel of John. Because that is the way the gospel of John is outlined, in that same kind
of arc. Jesus will start off on a very high plane with people believing in Him and having
faith and so on. As the gospel proceeds, we will see all the way through, step by step,
differing degrees of receptivity by people who believe on Him and varying degrees of
rejection that goes on at the same time. Some will swing down while others will swing up
with the same gospel arc.
Jesus will perform a miracle. John doesn't use the word miracle – he calls it sign.
It is a miracle nevertheless. Jesus will perform a sign, a sign- miracle, and in the very
audience that sees it there will be people who will believe and others who will go deeper
in rejection. We can see the rise of faith of some as they come to believe more and more
and more; and we can see others descending into darkness of unbelief as they come to
reject more and more.
3. The Redemption Arc of the Gospel
That's .the way the gospel is. It is dynamic, living and powerful. You can never
hear it without being changed. You can't sit in this congrega tion and hear these words
today without being affected one way or the other. You cannot remain on a neutral
ground. Either you will draw nearer to Him as Son of God and your Saviour and want to
worship Him; or, you will leave here colder with a greater indifference to the whole thing
that God is doing in this world. There is no neutral ground.
That's one reason why we ought to always maintain an absolute faith in the taught
and preached word of God. Sometimes we depend on so many things to help us but oh, if
we could have a greater faith in the word. Because the word is powerful. The word is
living. It is able to make alive. It is able to heal. It is able to cure. It is able to purge. It is
able to solve problems that we face.
The living incarnated Word of God that was manifested when Jesus came to this
world – that Word has the power of all the ages and the authority of the Lord God
almighty backing it up. God works with the word. He works through the word. He works
in the word. He speaks – His voice is heard – in the word. The Bible tells us that there is
no place in the world that His voice is not heard because God is speaking through the
living word of God.
A. Jesus Christ Is the Living Word of God
"In the beginning was the word..." Those words declare His eternity. "...The word
was with God." These words declare His equality. "...And the word was God." These
words declare His deity.
1. Jesus Christ is the Living Word of Creation
John says, "The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by
Him and without Him was not anything made that was made." This eternal word was the
instrument of all creation. Without that living dynamic word, nothing was made that was
made. God Almighty speaking through the eternal living word creates everything just
from speaking it out. Let there be this. Let there be that. The living word is indeed that
dynamic creative force of the power of God.
2. Jesus Christ Is the Living Word of Salvation
a. Paul's Salvation Was a New Creation
As a matter of fact, that's the only way Paul understands it. He describes his new
birth not as a new birth like John, not as a conversation like some others, but he said,
"The experience I got, it was a creation." When a man gets in Christ Jesus he is a new
creation. It is the creative power of God that just simply works over that life and changes
it and transforms it. That's how powerful the word is.
b. Our Salvation Is a New Creation
We need to keep in mind that the word is still eternal and dynamic and it has
creative power. The very foundations of hell shake when the word of God goes forth and
when it is preached. Men in captivity and bondage are liberated when the light of truth
strikes into their darkened souls and they believe it and reach up and take hold of it.
It is so powerful it transforms your life. Why, you preachers, you have gone to the
pulpit down in the valley of despair and despondency and you got hold of the word and
the word got hold of you and you came out walking on top and feeling like you would
never see another bad day. Amen?
I've gone to the pulpit sick with a fever and get hold of the word and the word get
hold of me and preached myself well because of the dynamic power of the word of God
that is involved. Don't ever back up. Don't ever be afraid. Don't ever stand back but
plunge ahead with the dynamic word of God. God Almighty used it to create all things
and He is still creating by the word of God.
B. Jesus Christ Is Both Life and Light
1. Jesus as Life
John goes on to say, "In Him was life and that life was the light of men." Here is
the whole life principle wrapped up in Jesus Christ the Son of God. Paul said, "In Him we
live and move and have our being" (our existence). There would be no existence were it
not for Christ, because He is the instrument of life and the principle of life. That life
shining into the world touches men here and the Gospel of John will declare that this life
comes from above. It is not from this earth. It is by divine birth. It is a supernatural
operation that touches the lives of all men.
You have eternal life abiding in you when you're touched by the Son of God and
born anew and born again. You have eternal life today. You don't have to be so shaky and
worried about losing your religion every step you take, or every day. You can swell your
lungs and fill them full of praises to God and walk in the strength of faith and in the
knowledge of the Son of God-born again, filled with spirit and power and eternal life
abiding in you. You have life that is from above.
2. Jesus as the Light
That life brings light. Here's one of the great themes of the Gospel of John. Going
into verse 5, there seems to be a struggle between that light and darkness. But he declares
from the outset, even though he will talk about dark days in the life of Jesus, even though
he will talk about troublesome times and he will talk about outer darkness, and John will
always picture light and darkness coming in conflict and clashing constantly, yet he said
the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended, prevented, it not.
3. The Light Dispels Darkness
You see darkness is only the absence of light. There is no element called
darkness. There is an element called light, created light, God's created light. Darkness is
only the absence of light. So that anywhere, no matter how dark it is, when light comes
darkness flees away. Oh thank God for the positive power and action of the 'Living Word
and for the light of truth that when it shines, it dispels gloom and it dispels clouds and it
dispels darkness. I say let your light shine in the darkness of this world and you will drive
back the forces of evil and darkness and the light will shine through and men will see
clearly the truth and life that is in Christ Jesus.
C. Power of the Living Word
1. The Power of the Arc of Redemption
Let's return to the thought of the Arc of Redemption. As we have already seen,
John starts with Jesus in eternity past. Then suddenly verse-by- verse, step-by-step, Jesus
is seen moving downward until He reaches the lowest point in verse 14, "The Word was
made flesh", and the story of His rejection. But then, verse-by- verse, like steps, He starts
to rise again so that by the time you get to verse 18 He is in the bosom of the Father.
As said earlier, this great arc, swinging down like a pendulum from the other
world, is called by some the "arc of redemption." It expresses the humiliation and
exaltation theme of the Son of God. That's the kind of activity and power Jesus
performed. Like a great pendulum that swings, He came down from the eternal past,
lower and lower, swinging into the environment of this world on this earth and as he
swept through, He left enough power and glory and love to touch and transform lives and
sweep them with Him into the glories of glories, into the heavenly of heavenlies. Thank
God for the redeeming power of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2. We Can Partake of the Redemption Arc
Let's move together in that arc. Note the witness of John the Baptist who said, ...
"I am not the light, but just sent to bear witness of that light." Then Jesus enters the world
in verse 10, "...and the world knew Him not..." We get the first taste of what it's like for
Jesus Christ to be rejected and unknown.
"He was in the world and the world was made by him." The natural world could
look at Him and recognize its creator, but not the people of the world. That's the saddest
thing in all the world that people can be so blind until they can be staring a miracle in the
face and never recognize it or believe it and accept it or receive it.
But that's not all. He went further down because the next verse said, "He came
unto his own, and his own received him not." But there was a class who did receive Him.
"And to them who received him he gave them the power to become the sons of God."
That's what happens when you come to Jesus Christ. That's what happens when you
receive him. That's what happens when you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He imparts
to you power to become something you never could be, to become something that you
never dreamed of.
When I think of my own life and the road I was headed and the wastefulness
where I could have been tonight and think about what God has done for me, it is a marvel
and a wonder indeed because this transforming, miracle working power gives power to
become sons of God.
3. The Humiliation of the Arc of Redemption
At the very heart of this arc is verse 14. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us..." Oh I wish I had time just to preach there. It's the story of the incarnation. So
that John instead of having a birth narrative talks about the incarnation – the living Word
coming and dwelling in human form and human flesh.
You see, He lived in a fleshly tabernacle. That's what that Greek word behind that
translation really means: that the Word – that Jesus Christ as the Word – was tabernacled
in flesh. That word tabernacle means "tent" like the old tabernacle in the wilderness was a
portable tent. I like that idea.
Paul said we know if the earthly tabernacle of this old house is dissolved, who
cares, don't let it bother you because we've got a house a building of God not made with
hands reserved for us in the heavens. Who in the world wouldn't rather trade off an old
worn out, beat up, half torn up tent that you live in for a house built of God reserved for
you in the heavens. Hallelujah.
He tabernacled, lived in the tent of human flesh is what he's saying. So that He
could know us and we could know Him. So that He could reach us and we could reach
Him. So He could feel our infirmities and we could feel His grace and strength.
4. The Exaltation of the Arc of Redemption
"The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us..." and John put in parenthesis
and said, "and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father." And
that only begotten just simply means one of a kind – the Son of God full of grace and
He starts then to talk about the glory of the Son of God. He's moving, step-bystep,
higher then. He moves a little higher when he talks about that He is greater even
than Moses – when he talks of the fullness of Christ and greater than Moses who brought
the law because grace and truth came by Jesus. Not the law. But grace and truth. Then
finally after Jesus declared to the world the Father, after He declared to the world God
and helped us to see and understand what God is like and who God is, then He went back
in the bosom of the Father. The arc is complete; Jesus has done His work.
This is an introduction to the whole book and describes the entire book of John
because it's the same thing. It starts in glory and moves, step by step, down in the
humiliation of Jesus until finally He is seen on His knees washing the feet of a mere man
– something no Jew in that century would ever dare to do – and then the death of the
cross. But John does not leave us there because he moves Jesus in triumph to Gethsemene
and to the prayer and to the cross and to glory.
Conclusion – Paul’s Letter to the Philippians
This reminds us so very much of the words of the apostle Paul who joins in that
same great theme. He tells us in Philippians 2:5-11, of the great humiliation and high
exaltation of Jesus Christ.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of
God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no
reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness
of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly
exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name
of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and
things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is
Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus Christ was the Word before the creation of the world, before time, and for all to come: He is the Word forever.
Thompson's Chain Reference: 706 (Beloved Son)
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